Sea Foam Smear Masters: A Review of the Women’s Futura
Every climber who hopes to excel technically must put time into footwork. In fact, I’ll admit that how I feel about my session is much more heavily tied to how well I climb than how hard I climb. It’s always kind of a bummer sending when you feel like you flailed up the route. Much better to dance up it and end on a high note.
The best climbers can climb well regardless of gear, but let’s be honest, shoes do matter, otherwise there’d be no point in (or market for) companies designing and redesigning high performance climbing shoes. La Sportiva’s new women’s Futura is one of those shoes.
Let me preface this with a description of the sport climbing in and around SW Montana. Most of the rock is limestone of varying quality. Depending on which crag you go to, the bolt locations may not always make sense. I like to think of it as generally safe, but exciting, spacing. You most likely will be fine if you fall, but sometimes better not to. Unless you’re an adrenaline junkie, then have at it, I guess.
I’d consider myself an occasionally brave climber. I have days where I can climb well above clips and not bat an eye, but I also have days where I feel discomfort on lead.
Anyway, I went to a local limestone cliff in Gallatin Canyon with a good friend and regular climbing partner a few weeks ago. He’s around six feet tall and has some poundage on me, so if someone is going to pull holds off, it’ll be him right? Sure. I was feeling brave that day. We’ll just ignore the fact that we almost never use the same feet, given our eight inch difference in height.
After warming up, we got on a 5.12 with some delicate choss climbing, followed by some juggy and thuggy moves into a stressful clipping stance. Once you clip that draw, you move into the crux. You work your hands up progressively smaller handholds, creeping them onto the slab and eventually throwing your left foot up and out onto a smeary nothing some three feet or so above the last bolt.
Now, I love a good technical, thin rock over move, but this one was particularly exciting in circumstance. I have to say, with the ladies’ Futura on my foot, it felt like I was rocking over onto the biggest gym jug you can think of. Those shoes practically turn your feet into another pair of hands, but better. I felt so secure through that crux that I was able to send second go! We then moved to a harder 12 and I swear that I was able to manufacture footholds in my preferred locations. I felt like a total boss that day with those sea foam smear masters on my feet. Side note: my partner thinks the color of these shoes is gross, but I am beyond psyched that they are not pink. I quite enjoy the shade of green they chose. Thanks, Sportiva!
The women’s Futura just absolutely slays on pretty much everything. I tested them out on slab, overhangs, in pockets, on plastic. You may have to strap them down real tight for expert level heel-hookery, but they stick to it all with precision and sensitivity. As far as fit goes, these may not be the best choice if you have super narrow feet. For reference, I don’t really fit into the women’s Solution, but I have to max out the straps on the men’s Futura to get them just relatively snug. The S-closure on these shoes is so easy: one pull tab and you can tighten where you need. If they fit you, you will love them.